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Studio boss knocks Blu-ray for poor image quality, high price

It looks as though Sony just can't catch a break these days in the news. Last week we learned that Sony was delaying the European launch of its PlayStation 3 from November 17 to March of 2007 along with the announcement that an initial batch of 500,000 total units would be available for the November 11 Japanese launch and November 17 North American launch. The launch delay/shipment reduction is due to Sony's problems with manufacturing blue laser diodes used by the Blu-ray drive on the PS3.

Well today, we learn of even more bad news for the Sony camp. Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment, came out swinging against the Blu-ray standard calling HD DVD the "hands down" winner in the next generation movie formats. "Look at the blogs, look at the reviews by the early adopters and even look at the mainstream media – HD DVD has maintained its first-to-market advantage and delivered on the promises of providing the best high definition image and sound quality at the best value for consumers today," said Kornblau.

Kornblau is likely referencing three head-to-head comparison reviews done on Blu-ray and HD DVD versions of 'Training Day,' 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' and 'Rumor Has It....' In those comparison tests done by High-Def Digest in early August, HD DVD clearly came out ahead of Blu-ray in image quality. The Blu-ray titles featured increased noise/artifacting and darker overall color casting. Issue of cropping also popped up with the three Blu-ray titles tested.

However, a more recent test by High-Def Digest produced more promising results from the Blu-ray camp. 'Firewall,' 'Lethal Weapon,' 'Blazing Saddles' and 'Full Metal Jacket' were tested this time around. With the exception of 'Full Metal Jacket,' the titles this time around used VC-1 compression instead of MPEG-2 resulting in much improved image quality across the board:

But to summarize, with this batch there is no clear "winner." If last time Blu-ray took more than its fair share of slings and arrows over picture quality and the format's reliance (up until now) on MPEG-2, this time the more level playing field has helped close the gap between Blu-ray and HD DVD. If nothing else, our second Blu-ray versus HD DVD face-off strongly indicates that what some people had declared a format war won is still far from over.

So while Kornblau is right in pointing out HD DVD advantages in pricing and availability, the image quality debate is still alive and well.



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RE: If only I cared...
By encryptkeeper on 9/18/2006 12:19:14 PM , Rating: 2
I would tend to agree that the BD and HDDVD formats won't be able to replace standard DVD formats. People are buying the HD TV's because salesmen push them so hard and their prices are coming down. Thats great and all but there's a large majority of people who have NO desire to replace their collection of standard DVDs. Without that huge demand, the prices for HD and BR will take a LONG time to come down in price. And look at the titles that are being put out for these new formats. Lords of Dogtown, Chronicles of Riddick. Can you say PSP movies? These are movies that appeal to the HD audience, but most people just don't care about these flicks. Without a huge and I mean HUGE demand for the first movies available for BR and HD, no movie studio will request other titles to be produced. So there's my argument. What's the other problem getting these formats off the ground? Hollywood has put out SO many great movies on SO many different editions no one is willing to spend more money on the same movie in a different format (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars to name a few). If the makers of the next gen formats want their products to take off, get some better exclusive movies.


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